night photography

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So my favorite view from the Washington Monument was definitely facing west with views of the World War II Memorial, Reflecting Pool and the Lincoln Memorial. It may have been because we were there around sunset and obviously you want to be facing west, but it was the Reflecting Pool that kept on catching my eye. I couldn’t believe how still and peaceful the water looked. It literally looked like glass from above.

But out of the corner of my eye, I noticed an airplane flying by in the sky and you could see it in the reflecting pool. It was the coolest thing ever. Luckily, at that time of the night, there’s pretty much an airplane that flys by ever ten minutes. So I just waited a bit for another one to come and tried my best to capture it in the reflection.

I also love seeing all the traffic around the memorial and into Arlington, Virginia. GAH I love these elevated views. Can’t wait to go up in the Washington Monument again to capture some more!

If you have any questions about getting tickets or what it’s like up there, please feel free to let me know. I’m currently writing a guide that will explain the process.

My camera settings for this image are F4.5 at 1/30th sec and ISO 1000 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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Before leaving for this trip, I had made a mental note of the new moon. I was so happy that we would be along the Oregon coast for it. I don’t make enough effort to photograph it in the DC area because we would have to drive at least an hour away to get to a decent place to photograph it. But in Oregon, it was so much easier to photograph the stars and milky way.

This image was taken at the Samuel H Boardman State Scenic Corridor in southern Oregon. We had clear skies all day so I knew this night would be perfect. Right before sunset, Andrew and I scouted different places I could go to photograph the milky way and decided on Meyers Creek Beach. One, because it’s so beautiful with the rock formations in the water. Two, because we would be able to park along the edge of the beach and not go very far to capture images. It was a win-win for everyone.

I had so much fun photographing these star images. I’m going to try to make more of an effort in the future to photograph the milky way.

My camera settings for this image is F2.8 at 10 seconds and ISO 3200 with my Sony A7II and borrowed a 24-70mm lens just for this trip. I wanted to test it out as an everyday lens but came in handy for these night shots because of how fast it is.

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So I have to admit, I was a little hesitant to post this image. I wasn’t sure if it was appropriate but it’s such a cool shot! LOL.

I captured this image the same night I was out with my friend, Zack storm chasing. We actually started off the night at the Lincoln Memorial, figured the storm was moving in a direction that it would look cool at the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial and then eventually ended at the Washington Memorial. I didn’t expect the lightning so I didn’t have my tripod so to capture this, I was using the flower beds in the middle of the walk area as my support. But it’s so funny because this was the first shot that both Zack and I took at this location and we both caught the same lightning strike with the same point of view. LOL.

I blame the low hanging clouds. The clouds were hanging so low and heavy that there weren’t that many huge strikes that evening. If there was, they seemed to crawl horizontally across the sky. And since I was using the flower beds as support, I couldn’t fully see my composition so it was a happy surprise to see the leaves on top of the image. I think it frames everything so well.

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 1/13th sec and ISO 1600 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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The last image I took at this sunset and night workshop was of my friend, Andy. He was smart enough to bring a flashlight with him and this image actually took a couple of tries.

Considering the fact that we were there with about 12 other photographers, everyone at different skill levels, it was hard to capture this image. We were all there trying to take night shots with Jimmy and Waldnilso but we weren’t sure if we were able to take some of our own. So as people were readjusting their focal points and things, Andy would run quickly to the George Washington’s bust and light it up in time for his own self-timer and he was kind enough to make sure I got the shot too.

But with all these attempts, the one at the very end, when everyone else was packing up,  turned out the best. And if you look closely enough, I even captured a shooting star! Which by the way, there were so many shooting stars that night! So fun!

If you want to check out Andy’s version of this image, click here. It’s awesome. He also made a youtube video about our experience that you can watch here.

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 8 seconds and ISO 160 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide-angle zoom.

That guy can stand very still for so long. LOL.

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Ok, enough chit chat. This was my FAVORITE part of the night. It was the “segment” when Waldnilso brought out his drone, attached some lume cubes to the bottom of it and started flying when it was crazy dark outside. This was the first time I’ve ever witnessed anyone flying at night and it was so cool. To be honest, I didn’t even know you could do it.

But the lights were surprisingly bright. The kind of bright that if you stared at them too long, you’ll start seeing stars. Even hovering over a president’s head for a little bit of time was enough to light them up for an exposure and it created some very interesting/creepy images.

But the best was when Waldnilso would circle around the presidents’ heads. At first, he did these circles which were really cool. He told us to hit our shutter when the drone was behind the head and then release it when it came back around for a very clean looking circle. Those images turned out cool but then he suggested spiraling around the heads. OMG! I moved my camera and tripod over to the side so I wouldn’t get a similar-looking image and I love the way that it turned out. I can’t even imagine what it takes to fly a drone at night but it was the coolest thing ever.

PS that light coming from the right-hand side of the image is the moonlight.

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 83 seconds and ISO 160 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide-angle lens.

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And this is what it looks like when lightning strikes behind the clouds. I love the glow the clouds are giving off in this image. So much so that it’s kind of hard for me to say if I like this image better or the one I took of the actual lightning strike. There’s something about seeing all the definition in the clouds that I can’t stop looking at. Plus it’s incredible how much light actually comes from lightning. *trying my best not to reference Grease Lightning*

Let me know in the comments which one you prefer.

In other news, Andrew and I are headed to Oregon next week. I can’t wait. It’s our first times visiting and I’m really looking forward to spending time exploring the Pacific Northwest. You should see my google map. It’s filled with pins. Is it me or does it seem like everywhere you turn is another waterfall in Oregon? While I was doing some photo research, I read that someone called it the “Iceland of America”. I giggled but also really hope it’s true.

I also discovered that Oregon seems super dog-friendly. Out of all the places I was interested in going, Crater Lake National Park is the only place that dogs aren’t allowed to go. So with that in mind, Frankie’s coming on the trip with us too! I can’t wait to go on hikes with him and run on the beach. Don’t worry though, we bought a backpack for when he gets tired on the hikes 🙂 Can’t wait!!

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 1/5th sec and ISO 2000 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide-angle lens with my tripod.